Executive Profiles

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George Sparks

President and CEO

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George Sparks has been the president & CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science since November 2004. He spent 24 years in the electronics measurement business at Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies. His career included marketing, sales, and general management of global businesses in software, systems, and services.  

Prior to joining Hewlett-Packard, Sparks spent nine years in the Air Force as a pilot and as an assistant professor of aeronautics at the United States Air Force Academy (1976-1978). He is a distinguished graduate of the USAF Academy with a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering, and holds a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Sparks’ passion is public policy, particularly around science and education. He is a member of the Colorado Forum, Colorado Concern, and is on the boards of Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Denver School of Science & Technology. 

George is the founder of the Institute for Science & Policy, a program of the Museum. 

He loves his wife and all of his children.

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Ed Scholz

Executive Vice President of Operations & Finance

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Ed Scholz is executive vice president of operations & finance and is responsible for all traditional administrative functions as well as guest, volunteer, and retail food operations. He previously served for over a decade in various financial roles for the City and County of Denver, including as the budget director, deputy CFO, and CFO. As budget director, he oversaw a $2 billion citywide budget focused on long-term fiscal and capital improvement planning and performance management. 
Scholz’s studies of music and finance led him to master’s in nonprofit management from Binghamton University in New York and a career that began in development for public broadcasting. He has taught local and national courses on performance management and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He is currently on the board of the Public Education & Business Coalition and is a member of the Audit Committee for the City and County of Denver. Scholz has also served on the board of the Center on Colfax and several task forces in the metro-area, including the City of Denver Structural Financial Task Force, the Arvada Center Governance Task Force, and the National Western Center Task Force.

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Nancy Walsh

Executive Vice President of Experiences & Partnerships

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Nancy Walsh is the executive vice president of experiences & partnerships at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She works with a talented team and our community to create the vision, creative direction, and operation of a diverse array of innovative and engaging exhibitions and programs for all ages—onsite, offsite, and virtually. Walsh also works to nurture local and national partnerships that advance the Museum’s strategic plan.  

Walsh joined the Museum in 2006 as lead educator on the development team for the “Expedition Health” exhibition. She was a driving force behind the successful opening and reprogramming of the Museum’s most recent expansion, the Morgridge Family Exploration Center. Walsh is the vice president lead for the Museum’s No Walls Initiative, which has increased both the number and the diversity of people who connect with the Museum around nature and science in ways that are meaningful to them and in places that matter to them. Before her appointment as vice president in 2016, Walsh served as director of museum partnerships and programs. 

Walsh is passionate about the vibrancy of local communities and inclusive access to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. She has been the principal investigator on multiple grants that support innovative programming in this area. She was a mayoral appointee on the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and as co-chair worked on the city’s cultural plan, Imagine 2020. She currently serves on the boards of the Denver Public Schools Scholarship Foundation, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, the Art Students League of Denver, and CherryArts. Walsh is an alumnus of Leadership Denver. She holds a master’s degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Earlham College, where she received a bachelor’s in biology. 

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John R. Demboski, PhD

Senior Vice President of Science & Chief Curator

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John R. Demboski is senior vice president of science & chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. John is an accomplished zoologist and Museum leader who brings more 30 years of museum experience to the position. He is responsible for providing vision and leadership to ensure quality scientific research, appropriate collections stewardship, engaging educational programming and exhibition content, as well as managing a productive team of scientists and collections staff. He will play a critical role in shaping the Museum's strategic vision for science. During his tenure at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, he has expanded accessibility to collections and increased their overall use. He has served in many different roles that have included multiple initiatives and other large pan-Museum projects related to infrastructure, education, exhibits, and scientific research and collections. In addition, he has served in external leadership roles and on boards in the broader museum collections community.

Educated at Purdue University, his passion for museums was sparked during a volunteer opportunity at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, which resulted in a long-term fieldwork experience in the Philippines. This led him to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for his PhD and where he had the opportunity to gain extensive experience in the university’s research collections. After postdoctoral positions at the University of Idaho and Louisiana State University, John joined California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in 2002, as an assistant professor of biology. In 2006, he landed at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science where he served as curator of mammals and director of zoology & health sciences. 

John’s scientific research has focused on western North American mammals, where he studies the processes that contribute to the diversity of species. His work combines fieldwork and molecular methodology to address fundamental questions about the evolution and distribution of species. He has conducted fieldwork across the western United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, Philippines, and Russia. 

John has lived all over the United States and is now proud to have established long-term roots in Colorado after calling so many places home. Live music, fly fishing, wildlife, road trips, the mountains, and time with family are his passions.

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Amanda Bennett

Vice President, Marketing & Communications

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Amanda Bennett is the vice president of marketing & communications and has served in many leadership roles within the marketing division since 2004. Most recently as Director of Marketing and Communications, she has led and executed strategic marketing and communications plans designed to increase regional awareness and positive recognition of the Museum as a trusted partner for community knowledge and collaboration. Amanda has aided in the development, oversight, and implementation of award-winning marketing efforts of touring exhibitions, documentary films, planetarium shows, strategic projects, as well as building strategies for overall brand development and awareness. 

Amanda is tasked with strengthening public support for the Museum and personally championing the Museum’s collaborative efforts to help connect people of all ages to the world of nature and science. She actively participates in program selection as chief marketing representative and visitor advocate. Amanda is an experienced strategist and creative brand builder, providing a wealth of knowledge from experiences in the non-profit and corporate sectors.

Before Amanda joined the Museum, she was an account supervisor at a branding and advertising agency, where the Museum was her client for four years. Prior to her agency experience, she led the marketing and branding efforts for a sports management firm. She received her B.S. in Marketing Communications at Colorado State University. She also studied International Marketing Communications in Florence, Italy. Amanda serves as on many advisory committees within the Giant Screen documentary industry, as well as within the local experience economy start-up community such as Farm-to-Spaceship, Oh Heck Yeah, and others.

Amanda is a native from Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter, family, and friends.

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Ash Bassim, CPA

Vice President of Finance & Revenue

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Ash Bassim is vice president of finance and revenue.  Her primary areas of responsibility include providing leadership and strategy to the finance, retail, and food services teams to ensure the Museum’s impeccable financial integrity while targeting revenue growth to support operations and strategic plans. Prior to joining DMNS in 2012, Bassim held financial leadership roles of increasing responsibility in a wide variety of industries including banking, logistics, and entertainment.

In her time at the Museum, Bassim has had the pleasure of leading all of the important financial areas like reporting, budgeting, audit and tax compliance, and cash flow operations – but more than anything she has enjoyed helping her colleagues recognize the finance team as a partner to help them achieve and celebrate all of our shared aspirations.

Bassim is passionate about leveraging her financial skill set to support non-profits that improve and uplift the community.  She currently serves as chair on the Arapahoe County Cultural Council, board member for the Two Ponds Preservation Foundation and board treasurer for the WINGS Foundation.

Bassim is proud to be a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants.  She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Regis University and earned an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Colorado.  She grew up visiting DMNS on field trips as a little girl and currently lives in Aurora. She enjoys spending as much time as possible with her close group of friends and trying her best to train her two adorable and outrageously naughty terrier pups.

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Nicole Lucero-Holub

Vice President of Human Resources

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Nicole Lucero-Holub is vice president of human resources and is responsible for leading the HR functions related to strategic planning, talent acquisition, total rewards and HR service delivery.  She has over 25 years of experience in public, private and non-profit sectors.  Prior to joining the Museum, Lucero-Holub has served as HR Manager for the Office of Human Resources at the City and County of Denver.  She spent nearly 16 years in a variety of roles including leadership positions in talent acquisition, workforce planning, and employee engagement and HR data analytics.

Lucero-Holub joined the Museum in 2014 and has driven HR best practices to enhance our workplace culture and to advance the Museum’s diversity, equity, access and inclusion work within our policies and practices.  She is a co-lead sponsor for the Museum’s Employee Engagement Committee and Conversations about Community Committee, and a champion for the museum's Equity initiative team.  She also serves as a staff member for the Museum’s Compensation Committee to support the Board of Trustees.

Lucero-Holub holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business and a member of the Forever Buffs Latinx Alumni Association. She is a member of SHRM and World at Work.  She is also an active member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce HR Committee, Colorado Inclusive Economy as an HR Champion and a member Impact Leadership Solution - HR Executive Roundtable. She served as a past member of the Bonfils Stanton - Arts & Culture Equity Leadership Council.

Lucero-Holub is a Denver native.  She enjoys music, travel, theatre and spending time with her husband and three sons, along with her extended family and friends.

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Tina J. Martinez

Vice President, Learning and Community Experiences

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Tina Martinez is the vice president of learning and community experiences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She is responsible for the Museums’ school and teacher programs, experience development, community engagement and adult and family experiences. She works with teams across the Museum and community members, partners, and educators to co-vision and create meaningful experiences that connect people throughout Colorado with nature and science—at the Museum, virtually, and in their communities. Since joining the Museum in 2016 as Director of Experiences & Partnerships at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), Tina has led several strategic initiatives designed to reach people in the places where they live, learn and play, including new offsite school programming, the Museum on Wheels: Curiosity Cruiser, Mars Outpost play area at Colorado Mills and DMNS on Demand virtual programming.

For more than twenty years, Tina Martinez has worked and volunteered with organizations that aim to build stronger communities by enabling children and families to thrive. Prior to joining DMNS, Tina was the chief program officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, where she was responsible for operations and programming for more than 10,000 students across seventeen sites and five cities, as well as the development and implementation of strategic growth and impact initiatives. Tina is the chairperson of the board for Scholar’s Unlimited and vice-chairperson of the board of Clayton Early Learning. She has also served on the Denver Afterschool Alliance and Smart Girl, Inc. boards and on the National Diversity Committee for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Tina graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver with a B.A. in communications.

Tina and her husband Jason have two daughters, Santiana and J Senia.

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Christina Fritts

Vice President of Development

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Christina Fritts is the vice president of development at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She oversees philanthropy, membership, community research, and audience analytics to further the Museum’s mission to “Be a catalyst! Ignite our community’s passion for nature and science”. Christina joined the Museum in 2022 as Director of Membership & Insights, where she led the team in rebuilding our membership after the pandemic to 50,000 member households.

Prior to joining the Museum, Christina was the first Director of Customer Insights at Evolve Vacation Rental in Denver, Colorado, where she established its first insights team overseeing its voice of the customer program and related projects. She has 20 years of experience across finance, consulting, marketing and sales in various industries and around the globe. She is passionate about leading engaged, high-performing teams with a focus on developing future leaders.

Christina enjoyed visits to the Museum growing up and now has the pleasure of continuing to enjoy the Museum’s permanent and traveling exhibits, films, and programming with her husband and son.

Christina graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a focus on Economics and Political Science. She received her M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Jeff Joplin

Vice President of Operations

Jeff Joplin is vice president of operations.  His primary areas of responsibility include providing leadership and strategy to the building operations, building services, custodial services, guest services, project management, security, and volunteer engagement teams. Their goals are to ensure the Museum’s operational plans provide superior guest experiences in the built environment while achieving safety, security, and environmental conditions to support all guests, volunteers, staff, and collections.  Jeff has been with DMNS for 25 years, through two separate terms, while working in private industry in Operations for the interim.  During his career, he has executed over $150M in various construction projects.  At DMNS, he worked on the Morgridge Family Exploration Center, the Avenir Collections Center as well as three citywide bond initiatives and numerous renovations throughout the Museum.
In his time at the Museum, Jeff has worked on improving the operational efficiency of the equipment serving a diverse age of buildings.  Through energy-improvement measures such as an innovative ground source heat pump system, solar and efficiency upgrades along with a variety of sustainability measures, he is focused on reducing the Museum’s environmental impact while achieving our vision of protecting our natural world.
He has participated in programs with the City and County of Denver, other cultural organizations, and Denver Parks and Recreation to support City Park and surrounding communities’ growth and development.
Jeff and his wife Shelley have two daughters, Ashley and Emily.
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